I’d like to update you all on what your union officers and volunteers have been doing during these challenging times.
We have formed two committees, and we are working behind the scenes looking to the future, looking toward an end to this Covid crisis, and an upturn in the economy.
The first committee is the Organizing Committee. The purpose of this committee is to create ways to enhance services for the membership, and to eventually increase our numbers. At the top of the committee’s priority list is an enhanced referral service, and an updated Directory. The goal is to be prepared to hit the ground running when things open up.
The second committee is the Re-opening Committee. This committee is tasked with investigating ways to make the building safer for our tenants and our musicians, and coming up with policies to put in place, so that we can once again open our studios, which are at this time, still closed. We will be using Studio 909 to host a no-audience live-stream performance on October 31st, as a pilot/experiment, using proper distancing and plexiglass barriers for the safety of the musicians and the audio/video technician. If this works out well, there could be more of these gigs at 909.
In conjunction with the Re-opening Committee, Secretary-Treasurer Robert Shinoda and John LeBlanc have been working with the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) to secure 100% funding for this live-stream broadcast, and others of the same type. Call the office at (808) 596-2121 if you would like to take advantage of this program.
I’d like to thank the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, the largest employer of our 677 musicians, which has been doing its best to keep things moving in these rough times. Since the pandemic shut down in-person concerts, MAH and the Orchestra Committee have been working closely with HSO Executive Director Dave Moss, as well as AFM counsel and advisors. Kudos to all for managing to have HSO musicians paid for all concerts cancelled due to the pandemic, and for their health care to be continued. I believe this stands as testament to the power of working under an AFM contract, musician unity and working with management in the spirit of cooperation. In July, the HSO produced a live stream concert from an empty Hawaii Theatre. Two more live streams were produced on the last Saturday of September and the first Saturday of October. The most recent performance included HSO Principal Oboist J. Scott Janusch, the first wind player allowed to participate in these concerts due to aerosol spreading concerns. We are all hopeful that more musicians will be included going forward with the goal of being able to have all of our HSO musicians employed and performing again as soon as it’s possible.
In the meantime, let’s try our best to stay positive, look and move forward, and most importantly, stay safe by following the protocols; distancing, masks, washing hands, using hand sanitizers.
James F. Moffitt